Family, friends and fans fondly remembered the late Bobby Clancy through the music, songs, poetry and stories he loved at two sell-out concerts at Carrick-on-Suir’s Brewery Lane Theatre last week.
Members of the public lucky enough to secure a ticket to the two concerts in memory of the famous Clancy Brothers folk group member were treated to a captivating evening of ensemble and solo singing, music and recitations from members of the hugely talented extended Clancy family as well as some of Bobby’s close friends.
The two concerts, directed by Colm Power, imitiated the informal trad sessions that Bobby enjoyed so much and well known folk songs from the Clancy Brothers repetoire were performed by the artists to the delight of the audience, who sang along to the lyrics with gusto.
Bobby’s son Finbarr and daughters Roisin and Aoife, who have all followed in his footsteps, spoke movingly and with hunour about their memories of their father during their performances. Their sister Aideen and mother Moira were in the audience for the shows.
Finbarr, a member of the High Kings ballad group, recalled his dad’s great love of poetry and music.
He remembered how his dad practised the banjo every day after dinner and introduced him to music by buying him a small banjo, which they used to play together.
He told the audience his dad loved nothing more than meeting people and performing in places like Eddie Guinan’s of Windgap and Powers of Tullahought.
Indeed, he recalled that Ronnie Wood of the Rolling Stone once rang his dad to invite him to a party in Kildare that night but his dad responded: “Oh Ronnie, I would love to come but there is a great session out in Windgap.”
“It seemed that he absolutely lived for the sessions and sing songs. He would say to everyone come back with a new song next time,” Finbarr recounted.
Aoife, who travelled from the US where she has forged a career as a folk singer, paid tribute to her father by singing a beautifully poignant song she wrote about him called “Going Home For The First Time”, about her first difficult visit home to Carrick-on-Suir following his death ten years ago and her memories of singing with him.
She spoke of the huge encouragement her dad gave her to sing as did her sister Roisin, who recounted his encouraging comments when she decided to go into acting when she was in her 20s.
“One of his favourite sayings was the world is you oyster,” said Roisin.
“He never hunted after fame or riches. They really didn’t mean anything to him. He just loved and enjoyed what he did. He was just a really happy person,” she added.
Roisin performed with her husband the Welsh singer/songwriter Ryland Teifi a recitation of works from WB Yeats and Dylan Thomas and Ryland sang The Deise Day, a song he wrote about Bobby.
Other members of the Clancy family who performed at the concerts were Bobby’s sister the actress Peg Power, nephews Colm and Kevin Power, Donal Clancy, (son of the late Liam Clancy), Hugh O’Carroll (son-in-law of the late Tom Clancy) and his sister-in-law Brid Nielsen.
Several of Bobby’s old friends Walter Dunphy, Frank Calary, Dr Patrick Crowley, Pat Kelleher and Dan O’Sullivan also sang or recited poetry and prose pieces as tributes.
Tom Nealon, who acted as MC, said Bobby would have loved to be with them at Brewery Lane for the shows and he was sure he was there in spirit.
At the end of the concert, Bobby’s widow Moira was presented with a bouquet of flowers from John Denby on behalf of the Brewery Lane Theatre Group.
Rosin Clancy said the family were delighted with the public response to the tribute concerts and are considering putting on an extra concert during the Clancy Brothers Festival in June because a lot of people were unable to secure tickets for last week’s shows, which sold out within three hours.